Multi-Year Pledge to Address Growing Inequality as COVID-19 Forces 47 Million More Women into Extreme Poverty; $159 Million Earmarked for UN Women Action Coalition on Gender Based Violence in South Africa, West Africa, India, and Latin America

Paris, France (June 30, 2021) – Today, the Ford Foundation announced a commitment of $420 million over the next five years to tackle gender inequality around the world which has been further exacerbated by the devastating effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. The financial pledge is designed to focus on multiple issues including addressing the growing epidemic of gender-based violence, reinforcing the need for a care-based economy, increasing workplace equality, and bringing critical resources to feminist movements and women’s rights organizations addressing these global challenges.

An estimated 47 million more women will fall into extreme poverty due to the pandemic. The committed funding is part of the foundation’s ongoing commitment to gender equality and reflects the widespread economic and social devastation felt by women and girls because of the COVID-19 pandemic. This commitment is also partly from the proceeds of the foundation’s unprecedented sale of $1 billion in social bonds in 2020 to help strengthen and stabilize organizations in the wake of the pandemic.

“The pandemic has disproportionately affected women and girls and underscored how much more we all must do to address and achieve gender equality with greater urgency. The Generation Equality Forum is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to reshape our society and to build an equitable future for all of us,” said Darren Walker, Ford Foundation president. “It is through genuine partnerships and the collective action of philanthropy, government, civil society, the private sector and feminist leaders themselves that we will achieve gender equality.”

Announced at the pivotal United Nations Women’s Generation Equality Forum in Paris, France, the foundation’s $420 million commitment spans across five of the Forum’s six Action Coalitions. These innovative and multi-issue, stakeholder committees are organized under the themes of Gender-Based Violence; Economic Justice and Rights; Bodily Autonomy and Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights; Feminist Action for Climate Justice; Technology and Innovation for Gender Equality; and Feminist Movements and Leadership.

“Twenty-six years after the landmark Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing, public discourse on gender equality has not been matched by action. Instead, COVID-19 has only accelerated gender inequality for millions of women and girls who bear the burden of the crisis,” said Nicolette Naylor, Ford Foundation international program director for Gender, Racial, and Ethnic Justice. “As some parts of the world start to emerge from the pandemic, it is essential that gender equality is at the heart of building back better. It’s time to stop talking and start funding the organizations that are driving change and the necessary progress on global gender equality. We encourage others to join us in these efforts to make meaningful and lasting change.”

Ford is co-leading the Forum’s Action Coalition on Gender-based Violence (GBV) and will direct $159 million specifically to organizations working on key issues around preventing and responding to gender-based violence. These funds will be allocated across the Foundation’s international efforts as well as regional work in Latin America, India and Southern and Western Africa, focusing on prevention and response to gender-based violence; scaling up evidence-based responses to gender-based violence and increasing accountability and financing for sustainable women’s rights organizations to address gender-based violence.

Additionally, Ford will direct another $94 million towards strengthening the feminist and women and girls’ rights infrastructure. The primary goal for this funding is to increase resources dedicated to feminist, women and girl-led organizations in the Global South and to leverage investments in the leadership of women and girls of color, transgender, gender nonconforming people across social justice movements.

The foundation recognizes the urgency and the importance of centering women and girls in all spheres of society in this moment of opportunity to build back better and equally. Recognizing that women don’t live single-issue lives, it is providing $167 million in grants to support organizations working and advocating on multifaceted issues like economic justice and rights, sexual and reproductive health and rights, and technology and innovation. These organizations include the Black Feminist Fund, Association for Women’s Rights in Development (AWID), Equality Fund, CARE Fund and Prospera, among others.

For more information about our commitments under the Generation Equality Forum process, our frequently asked questions are available here.


Notes to editors

  • The Ford Foundation commitment to nonprofit organizations working on these issues across the Action Coalitions are as follows:
    • Action Coalition on Gender-Based Violence: $159 million
    • Action Coalition on Feminist Movements & Leadership: $94 million
    • Action Coalition on Economic Justice and Rights: $79 million
    • Action Coalition on Bodily Autonomy and SRHR: $83 million
    • Action Coalition on Technology and Innovation: $5 million
  • Additional information on the foundation’s commitments can be found here.
  • The Generation Equality Forum is a civil society-centered, global gathering for gender equality, convened by UN Women and co-hosted by the governments of Mexico and France. The Forum recently convened in Mexico City in March 2021 and will culminate in Paris June 30-July 2, 2021 where it aims to secure a set of concrete and transformative commitments by leaders in the public and private sector to achieve substantive and lasting progress towards gender equality.
  • More information on the Generation Equality Forum can be found here.

The Ford Foundation

The Ford Foundation is an independent organization working to address inequality and build a future grounded in justice. For more than 85 years, it has supported visionaries on the frontlines of social change worldwide, guided by its mission to strengthen democratic values, reduce poverty and injustice, promote international cooperation, and advance human achievement. Today, with an endowment of $16 billion, the foundation has headquarters in New York and 10 regional offices across Africa, Asia, Latin America, and the Middle East.

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